A popular way most people avoid slips, trips and falls is by implementing non-slip rubber mats, stair treads and non-slip ramp runners to areas where the surface may get wet to create safe and non-slip surfaces. Common areas slip, trip and fall accidents occur are food service and processing industries, bathrooms, staircases and ramps since these are areas that are frequently traversed and areas that can get wet, especially in commercial areas. A rubber safety floor mat possesses all the qualities needed to provide a safe and non-slip walkway including moisture-resistance, resistance to weathering and durability under heavily traversed areas. An anti-skid mat is available with surface patterns, surface textures and drainage holes, or a combination of two, to help enhance rubber’s natural non-slip qualities.
What is the Best Non-Slip Material?
The best non-slip material is rubber due to its high coefficient of friction and ability to be a safety floor mat anywhere you need both indoor and outdoors. Its high coefficient of friction allows rubber to retain its traction even when moisture is prevalent. The non-slip rubber variations commonly used to create a safety floor mat are recycled rubber, reclaimed rubber, natural rubber and synthetic SBR or a blend of two materials. Oftentimes, non-slip rubber products feature patterned or textured surfaces that enhance rubber’s natural traction abilities. Furthermore, non-slip rubber, both synthetic and repurposed variations, can be used both indoors and outdoors due to their resistance to the outside environment. Although synthetic rubber may have more enhanced qualities that the repurposed variations, both are resistant to the damaging effects of harsh UV rays, ozone and moisture. Additionally, non-slip rubber will not promote the growth of mold and mildew even when moisture is left on its surface.
1. Does OSHA Require Floor Mats?
OSHA does not require employers to provide floor mats for anti-fatigue purposes; however, they do regulate workplace safety by requiring all employers in the food industry to create non-slip surfaces by using a safety floor mat made of rubber. Non-slip rubber mats are essential to the safety of employees in the food industry such as commercial kitchens and food processing plants. Both commercial kitchens and food processing plants are high-risk environments for work-related injuries and deaths. Equipment and cooking utensils used can cause serious injuries if someone were to fall on them. Moisture and/or grease are heavily present in commercial kitchens and food processing plants creating an opportunity for a slip and fall accident.
1(a). Commercial Kitchens
Commercial kitchens are extremely busy environments with multiple people working in them at the same time which increases the chances of accidents occurring from spills and splashes from the food being prepared. According to OSHA, “Slips, trips and falls can occur in the cooking area, from cluttered, slippery floors with oil, water or food on them.” If you are lucky, these slips and falls will likely end with a tumble onto the floor; however, it is impossible to determine the environment you will be in and this can lead to falls onto hot stoves and cooking food. Non-slip rubber kitchen mats are essential to the safety of employees and cooks alike and can protect them from slips caused by water. Some kitchen mats are available with drainage holes to help prevent moisture or food debris from collecting on the surface of the mat and creating hazards. Additionally, some non-slip rubber mats are made up of nitrile rubber which resists the effects of grease and oil.
1(b). Food Processing Plants
Food processing plants, such as meat and poultry processing, produces many hazards for their employees including slip and fall accidents; however, this farm-to-table environment is far more dangerous than commercial kitchen environments. In fact, “The morbidity rate for food system industries were significantly higher than the morbidity rate for non-food system industries…Food production workers, especially those engaged in fishing, hunting, and trapping, have the highest rate of job-related fatalities in the US, compared to other private industry workers” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). The equipment generally used to do this kind of work including “knives, hooks, scissors, and saws, among others – can cut, stab and infect” (hrw.org) and the waste produced in meat and poultry processing can create a very slick surface. A safety floor mat is especially important for the safety of food processing plant employees as an accidental slip and fall can lead to landing on sharp or hard equipment causing serious injuries. Without the use of a non-slip rubber mat, in an environment like this, life-threatening injuries and even fatalities are more likely to occur.
Can Non-Slip Mats Be Used Outdoors?
Non-slip rubber mats can be used outdoor due to their ability to last in the outdoors and high coefficient of friction. Outdoor walkways, especially in commercial areas, need to be protected by a non-slip rubber mats to prevent injury. Areas like this include college dorm or building entrances, store fronts and paved walkways where large numbers of people traverse constantly throughout the day. A non-slip rubber mat will prevent slip and fall accidents as well as protect the integrity of the surface below it. Uneven walkways and entrances can cause falls as people can trip over a broken or cracked doorstep. Surface patterns and textures aid in removing dirt and debris from trailing indoors where they can create further hazards indoors. Non-slip rubber is the ideal material for outdoor applications due to its ability to resist weathering and the outdoor weather and conditions.
2. What are the Best Bathroom Mats?
An anti-slip mat made of non-slip rubber is the best bathroom mat because it will resist the effects of moisture and retain traction when wet. Public commercial bathrooms are extremely susceptible to frequent spilling and splashing of water from the sink due to the constant flow of people using them. Without the use of an anti-skid mat, slip and fall accidents are more likely to occur that can lead to hitting your head on sinks or toilets or taking a tumble on the hard bathroom floor. With the use of a non-slip rubber mat, a bathroom floor can be made safer to avoid these kinds of injuries. Due to the excess amount of moisture that can be present on bathroom floors, there are both drainage and solid mats available depending on how much moisture is present.
2(a). Non-Slip Drainage Mats
Non-slip drainage mats are ideal for bathrooms that are frequently used such as public bathrooms. This type of safety floor mat is covered with numerous drainage hole to prevent moisture from pooling at the surface of the mat. Non-slip rubber drainage mats are ideal for public bathrooms where there are multiple sinks that are being used constantly throughout the day. Rubber can naturally retain traction when wet, but some drainage mats feature a surface pattern as well to enhance rubber’s natural abilities. These surface patterns provide raised protrusions that allow feet to firmly grip onto the surface of the mat which further promotes non-slip surfaces.
2(b). Solid Non-Slip Rubber Mats
Solid non-slip rubber mats, unlike drainage mats, relies solely on the non-slip material and the surface patterns and texture to create non-slip surfaces. Solid rubber mats can feature multiple surface patterns including diamond-plate, coin-grip and linear patterns. These patterns provide numerous small protrusions on the surface of the mat that will help your feet grip onto the mat, avoiding slips. Other times, a surface texture, normally found on recycled rubber mats, is offered to help enhance traction. The surface texture of recycled rubber mats is created naturally during the production of recycled rubber material that essentially binds crumb rubber together which creates the unique rough surface texture.
3. What to Put on Stairs to Prevent from Slipping?
To prevent slips on stairs, non-slip rubber stair treads can be placed on each step to provide non-slip surfaces to safely traverse as well as protecting the steps from damage. Made with a blend of reclaimed and natural rubber, these non-slip rubber mats can be used on both indoor and outdoor steps and is available with an extended lip that covers the edge of the step for added anti-slip traction. Whether your steps are outside or inside, wooden or concrete, staircases are one of the leading causes of accident-related deaths right behind motor vehicle accidents (cdc.gov). It is especially important to protect commercial staircases because they are constantly being used throughout the day. Because stairs can be found in commercial and residential areas, non-slip rubber stair treads are made available in larger sizes to fit those larger commercial steps. Cast iron non-slip rubber stair treads are a bit more decorative; however, even these will provide ample non-slip traction and the gaps within its intricate designs can help drain moisture from the surface of the steps.
3(a). Can Non-Slip Rubber Stair Treads Prevent Trips?
Along with providing non-slip surfaces for your steps, they also help prevent trips caused by damaged steps by being a protective barrier between unrelenting foot traffic and damaging physical or environmental forces. Next to slick steps, broken or uneven steps are a common cause of falls down stairs. Rubber is a highly durable material that will resist weathering to provide a solid and level step. Additionally, the same extended lip that provides non-slip surfaces that extend over the edge of the step also protects that areas from chips that could present itself from a slip off the edge of the step. Non-slip rubber stair treads not only prevent slips, but can also prevent damages to steps that may also be a hazard.
What Can I Put on a Ramp to Keep from Slipping?
Non-slip rubber runners can be placed on ramps to help create a safer non-slip ramp. Rubber runners are the ideal safety floor mat for ramps due to their surface patterns and their ability to be used both indoors and outdoors. Additionally, its SBR composition gives non-slip ramp runners extra durability, especially in the outdoors. A non-slip ramp covering can have multiple surface patterns including a corrugated surface or a fishbone-style pattern. These surface patterns are ideal for creating a non-slip ramp because the surface patterns allow you to “push off” the surface of the ramp firmly without slipping. The alternating zigzags of the fishbone pattern creates multidirectional non-slip surfaces that provide protection no matter which way you are facing. A corrugated surface pattern provides linear ridges and grooves that go across the width of the safety floor mat to increase traction while traversing the incline. With each step, the ridges and grooves will allow your shoes to firmly grip and remove dirt and debris to further decrease the chances of slipping downhill.
Non-slip rubber mats are the best and easiest way to create safe and non-slip surfaces in commercial and residential environments. It provides surface protection while creating non-slip surfaces for homes and workplaces alike. A rubber safety mat is moisture-resistant and resistant to the effects of outdoor environments and weather patterns. Areas such as food industry workplaces, public bathrooms, staircases and ramps need a rubber safety mat in place due to the large amounts of moisture or foot traffic they will be subjected to. Having an anti-skid mat in place can prevent workplace injuries that can lead to serious injuries, or even fatalities.